In the Outer Lands

Of course, post-collapse, we’ll have no choice, but to come together on the common, but what do we do now, in the last days before collapse? Plainly we can build new economic and social relationships subversively beneath the enclosures and on a rather fragile and tentative common. We can withdraw our spending from super market, retail park, the internet and so on and replace it into the hands of local trades’ people. We can learn non-fossil-fuelled skills. If possible, we can evacuate the education system and begin to teach more appropriate values. Of course, the enclosures will reach down with law enforcement – compulsory curriculums, rent…
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It’s a muddle – for instance a renewing Earth will not have energy to power the internet, and yet for now it is useful to communicate between commoners and as a library for skills and tools. All is least worst options.
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The transition movement had it right from the beginning – it has made no attempt to improve the enclosures, but rather, it would learn, step by step, to enter the common – a place where behaviour has consequence. Its footsteps lead from an economy powered by fossil fuels towards one, which isn’t. It hopes for the transition community to expand across its new commons.
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But still we live in a world of enclosures and we can negotiate with that world for measures, which may aid our transition, using all the allies we can get. Such measures may prove congruent with the contrary aims of others, who wish not to evacuate, but to improve the enclosures. An improved enclosure erodes the common. They include –
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1 – Redirecting New Deal, or Green New Deal moneys from corporate re-finance, to community re-finance – from corporate greening to community greening. We can use it to help settle the common.
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2 – Basic Income, or Citizen’s dividend is seen by many as the best way to rejuvenate existing “economies” during and as we emerge from the Coronavirus “slow down”.
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It can be similarly used to buy liberty to settle the common. Tom Paine saw it as a means to some restorative justice, by returning the rents gathered by enclosure, back to the original common. Of course, it remains a small restoration – that is, merely for rents gathered. Meanwhile, the theft of moral commons to create amoral private property is the cause not only of most poverty in the world, but also of climatic disbalance and of the pillage of nature. Its course is inevitable – self-destruction. Truly, we must evacuate quick. Enclosures cannot be improved. Self-destruction is intrinsic to what they are. Those who’d enclose, can have no moral understanding to respond to moral advice.
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“Carbon” taxes can be used in the same way – to re-finance community endeavour – through citizen’s dividend perhaps. Those who’d “improve” the enclosures (most environmental activists) could also be helpful to those who, on the contrary, would re-settle the common. The “great corporations”, for the most part, will be happy to embrace carbon taxes, because they know coal, oil and gas are bad for sales figures, whereas consumer trends are towards an “enlightened” future of green energy. Progress, enlightenment and new green technologies are excellent marketing tools for continued and utterly amoral (and so immoral) “green” enclosure. Corporations will be keen to swallow as much Green New Deal and Carbon Tax money as they can. The negotiated battle between community and corporate funding is on-going inside the enclosures. In the end it remains a part of this illusion – consumerism as a partnership. Corporations need the consumer and most consumers need the corporation. I think that is an unhappy relationship. I think most people are unhappy. Retail therapy is becoming less and less effective.
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The common is a still, small voice. It sings and dances – inviting others to the dance. I wish I knew if and when it will become more insistent. Time is very, very short.
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